Caps Roar Past the Predators

The Nashville Predators made their one and only visit to the Verizon Center this season. It was Jay Beagle’s 300th NHL game and the Capitals spent the night celebrating 25 years of Craig Laughlin as a CSN analyst. They played a great defensive game and Braden Holtby was dynamite–as usual. And there is no underestimating the magic of Evgeny Kuznetsov as he time and again creates opportunities for his teammates to score. Daniel Winnik benefited the most with two goals for the night. Good production all around.

First Period: Solid Start

The Caps had a good start in the first period – holding back the Predators. They were keeping Predators goaltender Carter Hutton company early in the game. Jay “Top Line” Beagle and Jason Chimera both had some quality chances on Huttton. The Capitals penalty kill was successful late in the period. Capitals outskated and outshot the Predators 11-4. It seems like those bad first periods are a thing of the past (hopefully).

GOALS: None

PENALTIES: Nicklas Backstrom (hi-sticking)

SCORE: Game tied 0-0

Second Period: Winnik’s First (and Second) in Red!

While on the power play, Predator Filip Forsberg opened the scoring. Then, Daniel Winnik scored his first goal as a Capital. Amazing slap pass from Evgeny Kuznetsov and Braden Holtby collected a goalie point. The Capitals went on the power play but did not convert. Kuznetsov does his signature pass (no look behind-the-net) to T.J. Oshie, who got the Caps the 2-1 lead. In the final minute of the period, Winnik scored his second goal as a Capital. Winnik also collected his 200th NHL point on the second goal.

GOALS: Filip Forsberg scored his 29th of the season (assists: Roman Josi and Shea Weber); Daniel Winnik scored his fifth of the season (assists: Evgeny Kuznetsov and Braden Holtby); T.J. Oshie scored his 22nd of the season (assist: Evgeny Kuznetsov); Daniel Winnik scored his sixth of the season (assist: Dmitry Orlov)

PENALTIES: Taylor Chorney (tripping); Ryan Johansen (tripping); Ryan Johansen (cross checking)

SCORE: Caps lead 3-1

Oshie Goal
Oshie expresses the excitement at Verizon Center tonight!

 

Third Period:

It took 36 seconds for Kuzy to make another crazy pass, this time to Andre Burakovsky. Kuznetsov had a hat trick of assists in this game. The game got more physical as the time ticked down for the Predators. In the final minute of the period, the Caps had a 5-on-3 man advantage. Johansen had a hat trick of penalties in this game. It was not a one-game goal for the Caps, who won 4-1.

GOALS: Andre Burakovsky scored his 15th of the season (assist: Evgeny Kuznetsov)

PENALTIES: Alex Ovechkin (hi-sticking); Craig Smith (holding the stick); Mike Ribeiro (game misconduct); Ryan Johansen (roughing); Shea Weber (delay of game)

SCORE: Caps win 4-1

There is no doubt that this is a “creative” and “intelligent” team to quote Coach Trotz. Tonight was the 51st win of the season for the Capitals and 43rd win for Braden Holtby. Holtby is one win closer to the single season wins record held by Martin Brodeur (48).

What’s Next?

Practice: 11:30am on Saturday at Ketter Capitals Iceplex.

Game: Sunday at 6pm against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center.

With Playoffs Clinched, Caps Look to Fine Tune Vs. Nashville

The third time was the charm Wednesday as the Washington Capitals got win number 50 and clinched the first playoff spot in the NHL this season. Now that those goals have been accomplished, the Caps look to fine tune their skills against Barry Trotz former team the Nashville Predators.

Home Sweet Home

The Washington Capitals showed why they have the best home record in the NHL. They’re 27-6-2 (56 points) at Verizon Center and currently sit in the top four of goals per game (3.1), goals against (2.3), power play (23.7%) and penalty kill (84.3%).

  • Alex Ovechkin needed overtime but finally scored his 42nd goal after going scoreless in his last five games.
  • Braden Holtby tallied his 42nd win to break his own record from last season (41) as the most wins by a Caps goaltender in a season. He is now five wins shy of tying Martin Brodeur for most wins in a season by a goalie. He is 42-8-4 with a 2.22 GAA and a .922 save percentage.
  • The Capitals continue to struggle in the 1st period. The last six games, the Caps have been outscored 8-0 in the first period and have let the opponent score first in 13 of 16 games.
  • Trotz may experiment with the lines in the first to spark so scoring. Keep an eye on the lines when they come out Friday morning.

Solidifying Playoff Spot 

 The Nashville Predators sit 4th in the crowded Central division behind Dallas (93), St. Louis (91) and Chicago (88) who all have a playoff spot ready for them. The Predators are entrenched as the top wild card in the West with 85 points, nine points ahead of Colorado with 14 games remaining.

  • Former Capital Filip Forsberg leads Nashville with 28 goals and 52 points overall.
  • Another former Capital Mike Ribeiro leads the Predators with 40 assists.

Starting goaltenders will be Braden Holtby for the Caps and Pekka Rinne for the Predators. Rinne is 28-19-10 with a 2.44 GAA and a .910 save percentage. He has won three of his last five starts.